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Implications of the Castro St (and other) Caltrain Ped Crossing Project

Original post made by maguro_01, Mountain View, on Dec 23, 2010

The project to "upgrade" the Castro St (Mountain View) pedestrian crossing is taking shape. They are putting in permanent steel fences to funnel all sidewalk traffic through four yellow steel manually operated gates that appear to be about 30 inches wide when opened. Handicapped access to the VTA light rail station is apparently cut off from the downtown Mountain View side, people with baby carriages may be able to open the gate by backing through it, but some won't. Walking bikes will be tight. The intention seems to be to limit to one person at a time on the tracks since the gate bottleneck is the only opening going both ways. Some may discover that they can't get through and will have to retreat back through the crowd pressing forwards in the funnel.

It's not clear why the opening is so narrow and why there is a gate at all. The gate has a big sign, of course telling us it will cost $271 to cross when the overhead gate and lights are operating. But it's illegal now. Crossing there is not infrequent, the pedestrian traffic is fairly high especially at rush hour as is car and rail traffic. They widened the sidewalk to contain a queue. The nearest other crossings are the Shoreline Blvd overpass and the Steven's Creek Trail overpass. The trail is not lighted after dark. Both are distant.

The design of the Castro Street project is inept and arrogant. It is not their concern to throttle off the pedestrian traffic and that was hardly the intent of Measure A voters in 2000. There seems to be no case for what they are specifically doing though there surely is for making the crossing safer if possible. Pedestrians are stakeholders just as the railroad and car drivers are but apparently are despised.

If this is how they spend $5.8 million Measure A funds, what might they do to us spending a slice of $42-plus-plus billion? Is this a Caltrain project? If so their management may need a clean sweep before any major projects are even considered given such a record on small ones.

The Nimby's have suddenly become much more credible.

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